Program Director Anna Zivarts’ Statement On Washington’s Initiative 976

Anna speaks at 976 press conference

Nearly 13 percent of people in Washington State have mobility-limiting disabilities. Many of us don’t have driver’s licenses, or access to a car. It’s not just disabled folks who are transit dependent – it’s also our youth, our elders, immigrants and people who can’t afford cars. Transit for us isn’t a choice, it’s an absolutely critical part of our ability to participate in our communities. 

I grew up outside of Olympia. Because I have a vision impairment that makes it impossible to get a driver’s license, as my friends got their licenses and freedom, I felt trapped and left out of “normal” life. I wanted to live somewhere where I could get where I needed to go on the bus or train, and not have to my parents to drive me to dates. 

One of the first political campaigns I volunteered on was to oppose Tim Eyman’s Initiative 745 in 2000, which would have required 90% of our state’s transportation funding be spent on road building. We defeated that one – but it’s both sad and extremely frustrating that almost 20 years later, we are still having to fight tooth and nail to maintain funding for transit. 

Just like me, my kid is low vision and probably won’t drive. So a big part of my motivation comes from wanting a state where he and other transit dependent folks can get around. But just as critically, I want to be able to tell him I did everything in my power to address the climate crisis. 976 is a massive step backwards both on mobility access and on reducing our carbon emissions. We must defeat it.

 

Photo Credit @BrittneyBush

Anna Zivarts is the program director of Rooted in Rights and a low-vision mom who can't drive. She joined the Rooted in Rights team from Time of Day Media, a digital media cooperative she co-founded in 2010. At Time of Day, Anna produced digital video for the Innocence Project and Fight for 15, and lead searches for the ACLU in Kansas and Wisconsin to find citizens disenfranchised by voter ID laws. Twitter: @AnnaZivarts